DETROIT (WWJ) – The Detroit Fire Department ambulance response time is down from 18 minutes at the start of the year to about 11 minutes today.

While the improvement is not attributed directly to new rigs, as WWJ’s Mike Campbell reports, that’s certainly not hurting.

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Ambulance Det 3 (MCampbell)The new ambulances are red and about 15 are expected to be on the streets by the end of 2014, there are five on the road already.

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The ambulances are lower profile rigs which help with maneuverability – especially during high speed emergency situations.

The biggest upgrade may be what is in back of the ambulance: the new fire department rigs come with automatically lowering and lifting stretchers so the EMTs will no longer have to lift the patients into the back of the ambulance.

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According to one EMT – that feature alone will save quite a few backs on the team.